23rd Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival to Kick Off in May

San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego REP) hosts the 23rd Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival from May 27 through July 17, 2016. Following up 2015's festival, the highest selling in JFest history, the slate of twelve performances happening at eight different San Diego and North County venues features an increase in the number of plays produced and greater support from the county's award-winning theatres. Highlighting the festival will be two full productions: the strictly limited pre-New York engagement of Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro" and the return to San Diego of the longest running one-woman show in Broadway history, "Golda's Balcony" directed by Festival Artistic Director Todd Salovey and starring Rosina Reynolds at New Village Arts. The festival will also feature two new plays, "Gridlock" by Salomon Maya and "A Jewish Joke" by Phil Johnson and Marni Freedman, the 15th Annual Klezmer Summit, "JewGrass" celebrating Jews and bluegrass and an all new Women of Valor, its 7th production as part of JFest. Other festival highlights include the latest composition from premiere music ethnologist Yale Strom, "Chaldean Jazz"; and a co-production with Los Angeles' Jewish Women's Theatre of "The Blessing of a Broken Heart" based on the award winning book by Sherri Mandell, starring Lisa Robins and adapted and directed by Todd Salovey. The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival is curated, organized and directed by Todd Salovey, Associate Artistic Director of San Diego REP.

"We are very excited about our 23rd annual festival coming off the best attended festival in its history. With Hershey Felder's full production at the Lyceum and "Golda's Balcony" at New Village Arts we expect this coming year to break last year's records," says Festival Artistic Director Todd Salovey. "There's a feast of great art to celebrate and we invite the entire San Diego community to join us!"

Festival performances will be staged at various venues throughout San Diego County including San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, New Village Arts and many more. The North County San Diego area events feature six different performances, including "Golda's Balcony" at New Village Arts; "Three Yiddish Divas Get Romantic," the musical revue featuring songs of love and longing from around the world at the Oceanside Museum of Art; "A Jewish Joke," a new comedy from Phil Johnson and Marni Freedman at North Coast Rep; "The Blessing of a Broken Heart" at Chabad Jewish Center of Oceanside/Vista, as well as two free-of-charge events at the Encinitas Library. Additional highlights include the 15th Annual Klezmer Summit featuring Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi; "The Unfinished Diary: A Chronicle of Tears" based on the memoir of Chaim Yitzchok Wolgelertner written in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Poland, adapted by Leah Salovey, plus San Diego's beloved performer Hershey Felder returning for a strictly limited pre-New York engagement of his critically acclaimed show Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro." Felder's widely popular show returns to San Diego on the Lyceum Stage for two weeks only before it transfers to New York.

The schedule for the 23rd Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival includes:

Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in "Maestro"

Directed by Joel Zwick

July 6 -17 on the Lyceum Stage

Combining first person narrative, and his own music as well as music that inspired him, Hershey Felder as Leonard Bernstein in MAESTRO is a tale spanning the entire 20th century. Leonard Bernstein, one of America's greatest musicians, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world's musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star...for Leonard Bernstein, boundaries simply did not exist.

"You will walk out of the theatre realizing you've barely breathed for the duration of this astonishing musical and theatrical transmigration of souls." -Chicago Sun-Times

"Hershey Felder's best to date!" -Chicago Tribune

"Expert! Gets big laughs...also tugs at the heartstrings." -Los Angeles Times

Tickets start at $70. Discounts and student tickets are available. Visit SDRep.org or call 619-544-1000.

Wednesday, July 6, 7:00 PM - Special Jewish Festival Performance includes post-show reception with Hershey Felder and intimate preview of his newest piece "Tchaikovsky", a world premier time-bending story of culture and politics that explores the mystery around some of the greatest music ever composed. Tickets for this special performance are $180.

"Golda's Balcony"

By William Gibson

Directed by Todd Salovey

Starring Rosina Reynolds

May 27 - June 26 at New Village Arts Theatre

The longest running one-woman show in Broadway history, "Golda's Balcony" by William Gibson tells the incredible true story of Golda Meir, Israel's first female prime minister. One of the most influential people of the twentieth century, Meir rose from Russian immigrant to American schoolteacher to the epicenter of international politics in a career that culminated with the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Tickets start at $25. Visit newvillagearts.org or call 760-433-3245.

Alexander Gourevich - Songs of Joy and Yearning

Sunday, May 29 at 2PM at the Encinitas Library

The Festival's popular clarinetist returns with a timeless Klezmer program of Jewish, Yiddish, and Israeli songs that touch the heart and stir the soul. Trained in the Soviet Union as a classical clarinetist, and a leading musician with Orquesta de Baja, Gourevich learned Klezmer traditions from his own father. His heartfelt "My Yiddische Mama" will bring you to tears, and his Klezmer dances will bring you to your feet.

Free of Charge. Visit www.encinitaslibfriends.org/Encinitas-Library.php or call 760-753-7376 for more information.

Yale Strom's "Chaldean Jazz" plus Steve Torok and the Mira Costa College Jazz Collective

Tuesday, May 31 at 7:30 PM in the Lyceum Space

Yale Strom is one of the world's premiere music ethnologists of Jewish, Roma and the world's immigrant communities. His latest composition, Chaldean Jazz explores traditional music of San Diego's southern Iraqi refugee community. Featuring an all-star Jazz quintet, it explores Chaldean melodies and modalities through a jazz lens. Yale's collaboration with San Diego's Chaldean community was funded by the San Diego Foundation's Creative Catalyst Program.

This program also features the legendary Steve Torok with the Mira Costa College Jazz Collective performing jazz interpretations of Yale's Klezmer compositions with guest performances by Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz.

Tickets are $18. Visit SDRep.org or call 619-544-1000.

"Three Yiddish Divas Get Romantic"

Wednesday, June 1 at 7:30 PM at the Oceanside Museum of Art

The Three Yiddish Divas, Elizabeth Schwartz, Debby Davis and Kathy Robbins return with songs of love and longing from around the world. Each acclaimed singer is well known to Festival and San Diego audiences. Soulful and earthy Elizabeth Schwartz is the lead singer for Hot Pstromi. Debby Davis, with a Yiddish theatre flair, is the lead singer of 2nd Avenue Klezmer. Kathy Robbins, founding cantor of Temple Sollel, evokes folk-rock political passion. Expect beautiful and lively songs from this SD Jewish super-group in the world's great Romance languages: French, Italian, Spanish and Ladino - and Yiddish!

Tickets are $18. Visit oma-online.org or call 760.435.3720.


By Salomon Maya

Directed by Pepe Stepensky

Choreography by David Chait

Produced by Sore Gordon

Performed (in English) by Teatro Punto y Coma

Saturday, June 4, 8:45 PM, Sunday June 5, 7:00 PM, Tuesday, June 7, 7:30PM at San Diego Repertory Theatre

A world premier comedy by the theatre company of San Diego's Mexican Jewish community.

Traffic. We live through it. We sit and listen to music, vent our frustrations via text message to a loved one or just stare off into a sea of endless automobiles. But every car houses a different person, a different story, a different life. All Jonah wanted to do was get home to his wife. He didn't realize that he would meet three strangers, or that they would together navigate the twists and turns one can only find while stuck in gridlock.

Starring Yigal Adato, Salomon Maya, Zeji Ozeri, Lizette Galicot, Aida Masliah, Beto Cohen and Stephanie Frid. Featuring Ana Maya, Joel Chait, Dalia Feldman and Abraham Sherman.

Co-sponsored by Ken Jewish Community and?L'CHAIM magazine.

Tickets are $36. Discounts and student tickets are available. Visit SDRep.org or call 619.544.1000

15th Annual Klezmer Summit - "JewGrass"

Monday, June 6 at 7:30 PM on the Lyceum Stage

Klezmer with an Old Timey swing. Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi will be joined by very special guest Hot Tuna's Barry Mitterhoff to perform "Mountain Music" from Klezmer of the Carpathian Ukraine to Old Timey Americana from Appalachia. Mitterhoff, a virtuosic mandolinist with such bands as Hot Tuna, is equally at home with Klezmer. Joining Strom on fiddle, he and Hot Pstromi will present music that is an essential part of both Eastern European Jewish and Southern mountain Christian cultures. These two spiritual cultures come from isolated, rural mountain communities where the greatest form of communication and expression of their lives was their music. Joining Hot Pstromi will be 50 year San Diego music veteran Walt Richards on banjo and mandolin.

Tickets are $20. Visit SDRep.org or call 619.544.1000

7th Annual Women of Valor

By Ali Viterbi, Rebecca Myers, Leah Salovey and Todd Salovey

Directed by Todd Salovey and Ali Viterbi

Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 PM in the Lyceum Space

Wednesday, June 15 at 6:45 PM at the Encinitas Library

A Woman of Valor, who shall find, asks the famous selection from the Book of Proverbs. The Festival once again honors six inspirational San Diego Jewish women and tells the story of their lives, joys, challenges and accomplishments. With music, poetry and imagery, Women of Valor is a moving and uplifting tribute to the women of our community. This year we are proud to honor Arlene Bernstein, Elisheva Green, Lucy Goldman, Cecile Jordan and Lynn Shenk, plus a special tribute to Golda Meir.

Tickets for the Lyceum Space performance are asked to be purchased with an $18 donation. Visit SDRep.org or 619.544.1000. The Encinitas Library performance is free of charge. Visit encinitaslibfriends.org/Encinitas-Library.php or call 760-753-7376 for more information.

Proceeds benefit Chesed Home, Friendship Circle, Torah High School and Project Sarah.

"The Joys and Oys of Language"

By Richard Lederer

Tuesday, June 14 at 7:30PM in the Lyceum Space

Union-Tribune language columnist Richard Lederer will take you on a joy ride through the glories and oddities of our marvelous English language, in which your nose can run and your feet can smell. Along the way, Dr. Lederer will explore the contributions of Yiddish to our cheerfully democratic and hospitable English language. Included in this program are some of the best Jewish jokes and how famous American Jewish entertainers had some not-so-famous Jewish names. Come prepared to laugh and learn.

Richard Lederer is the author of more than 50 books about language, history, and humor, including his best-selling Anguished English series and his current books, Amazing Words, Lederer on Language, and Challenging Words for Smart People.

Tickets are $18. Visit SDRep.org or call 619.544.1000

"A Jewish Joke"

By Phil Johnson and Marni Freedman

Directed by David Ellenstein

Featuring Phil Johnson

June 20-21 at 7:30 PM at North Coast Repertory Theatre

A story as relevant today as it was during the McCarthy Era. A curmudgeonly Jewish comedy screenwriter from MGM comes up against the Communist blacklist in 1950's Hollywood. He now has to make the biggest decision of his life. Armed with stories about the great era of Jewish humor, this poignant solo comedy shows one small man facing the tough American events of the mid-20th century.

Tickets are $25 Regular price and $20 for North Coast Rep Subscribers. Visit northcoastrep.org or call 858.481.1055.

"The Blessing of a Broken Heart"

Adapted and Directed by Todd Salovey

Based on the award winning book by Sherri Mandell

Starring Lisa Robins

Co-produced by Los Angeles' Jewish Women's Theatre

Thursday, June 23 at 7:00PM at Chabad Jewish Center of Oceanside/Vista

1930 Sunset Drive, Vista, CA 92081

Following its Los Angeles run, an encore performance in Vista. An American woman seeking adventure and meaning moves to Israel, meets her husband and becomes a mother. The play, with music and imagery of the holy land, follows her growth of spirit and purpose following a personal loss. Winner of Edgerton New American Play award.

Tickets range from $20-$25. Visit jewishoceanside.com or call 760.806.7765. Co-sponsored by Chabad Jewish Center-Oceanside/ Vistaof Vista.

"The Unfinished Diary: A Chronicle of Tears"

Book by Chaim Yitzchok Wolgelertner

Theatrical Presentation Adapted by Leah Salovey

Tuesday, June 28th at 7:30 PM at Congregation Adat Yeshurun, La Jolla

This special program features one of the most extraordinary recent books about the Holocaust. "The Unfinished Diary" is a rare treasure in holocaust literature. This diary was crafted as a memoir by its author, a gifted writer and brilliant Talmudic scholar who lived in Dzialoszyce, Poland while in hiding during the years 1942-1944. The author's extraordinary eyewitness account comes to an abrupt end only months before liberation. Now more than seventy years later, the diary/memoir of Chaim Yitzchok Wolgelernter depicts the resilience and spiritual resistance of Jews during the Holocaust. The evening will include a theatrical staged reading adapted from the book.

Tickets are $18. Visit Adatyeshurun.org or call 858.535.1196.

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